#WhatTheFAQ: Farewell, Federer! From ballboy to GOAT — tracing his inspirational journey

The last time we can feast our eyes while the great player displays his gameplay will be at the Laver Cup tournament in London which is starting on September 23
Pic: Edex Live
Pic: Edex Live

Roger Federer, the name needs no introduction as he holds a record for the greatest victories in the history of World Tennis. Not just one or two, the list of titles of tournament wins goes on and on and on. 

For every individual who admired Roger and grew up watching him excel in what he does, yesterday, September 15 was emotional as Roger Federer announced that he will be retiring from tennis.

On September 15, Federer announced his retirement saying, "The Laver Cup next week in London will be my final ATP event. I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but just not in Grand Slams or on the tour."

Having said that, who was Federer before his name sparkled in the record books? And why is he retiring now? #WhatTheFAQ is here with all these details and many more. 

How did a ballboy become a GOAT?
Roger Federer was born in Basel, Switzerland on August 8, 1981. From the age of eight, the now greatest sportsman was into playing tennis. Who knew that this little boy who served as a ballboy from 1993-94 at a hometown tournament in Basel would become a GOAT (Greatest of All Time)? Roger claimed 10 titles and 75 matches at this hometown tournament.

Having said that, Federer won his first Grand Slam in 2003, when he won the Wimbledon title and went on to win six Australian Opens (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017, 2018), one French Open in 2009, eight Wimbledons (2003 to 2007, 2009, 2012, 2017) and five US Open titles (2004 to 2008).

Moreover, at age 41, Federer remains the world’s highest-paid tennis player for the 17th straight year, hauling in an estimated $90 million before taxes and agents’ fees over the last 12 months despite not playing a single match.

Why retirement now?
After facing a lot of issues with his right knee over the past few years and having undergone three surgeries followed by rehabilitation to try and rectify it over nearly three years, Federer felt it is time to listen to what his body is indicating. 

"As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries. I’ve worked hard to return to full competitive form. But I also know my body’s capacities and limits, and its message to me lately has been clear. I am 41 years old. I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years," his letter read. 

What is with Federer's last tournament?
The Laver Cup tournament started in 2017 and was held in the following years except in 2020 as it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This tournament, which will begin on September 23, will be the last tournament where Federer will be seen playing. He represented Team Europe in each of the first three editions of the Laver Cup.

Representing a star-studded Team Europe, consisting of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stefanos Tsitsipas and new World No 2 Casper Ruud, Federer is expected to put on a good showing in his final tournament and help the team win the Laver Cup for the fifth straight edition. 

Which records of Roger were the highlights?

- Won 20 Grand Slam titles

- Claimed 103 titles

- Most consecutive weeks at world number one (237)

- Oldest player to hold the number one ranking (36 years, 320 days)

- Never retired from a match in his career, having played 1,526 singles (Wins: 1,251) and 223 doubles (Wins: 131) matches

- Only player to reach all four Grand Slam finals in the same calendar year three times (2006, 2007 and 2009)

Is Federer also known for humanitarian work?
Yes, Roger Federer is not just the greatest tennis player in history but also a human with a purpose to contribute society. 

Here are a few:

- Federer announced a $500,000 donation to aid schooling of Ukrainian children affected by the ongoing war against Russia

- In 2020, donated $1 million to vulnerable families in Switzerland and in South Africa during COVID-19

- Partnered with Rafael Nadal to donate $250,000 towards Australian bushfire relief in January 2020

- Founder of the Roger Federer Foundation in 2003, reaching more than one million children and investing more than $50 million

How did Twitter react?
Yes, Twitter is filled with reactions from all over the world, from the tennis fraternity as well as other sports players. Here are a few reactions:

Spanish Tennis Player Rafal Nadal and a strong opponent for Federer: "Dear Roger,my friend and rival. I wish this day would have never come. It’s a sad day for me personally and for sports around the world. It’s been a pleasure but also an honor and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court"

Indian cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle: "It was inevitable and it has happened. But what joy while it lasted. Tennis, and all sport, will say a huge thank you to #RogerFederer. He played with our emotions as much as he played against the opponent."

Former India cricket team captain Mithali Raj: "Grace and elegance personified, the title of GOAT suits you well Roger Federer. Thank you for all the memories, champ."

Indian weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu: "What an incredible career! Absolutely legend. Best wishes for the future sir. #RogerFederer"

Former Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar: "What a career Roger Federer. Truly greatest of all times"

Indian Tennis Player Sania Mirza shared a photo with Federer on her Instagram story with the caption: "Will tennis ever be the same?"

Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz: "Roger has been one of my idols and a source of inspiration! Thank you for everything you have done for our sport! I still want to play with you! Wish you all the luck in the world for what comes next! @rogerfederer"

Scottish tennis coach Judy Murray: "The end of a magnificent era……@rogerfederer"

Danish Tennis player Holger Vitus Nødskov Rune: "@rogerfederer not one week passes without watching your tennis on YouTube

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